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New rules could stop creditor harassment

Debt collectors act as primary components in creditors plans for recouping debt, but their tactics are usually far from docile. Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is trying to stop creditor harassment. If the CFPB has its way, Washington debtors might no longer have to fear the ringing of their phone while weighing the possible benefits of consumer bankruptcy.

About 33 percent of all consumers in America have been contacted at least once by a debt collector in the past year. Perhaps even more disturbing than the one third of consumers who have to suffer through harassing phone calls is the subsequent 40 percent who claim that they are being hassled for debts that are not even their own. It is relatively easy for third parties to purchase unpaid debt, but these third parties often fail to account for the possibility of identity theft and other issues that plague the $436 billion of consumer debt that is listed as 90 days or more past due.

The CFPB's proposal addresses these issues, including debts that are not actually owed. If the rules are passed, companies will be required to have a minimum amount of reliable information before they can attempt to collect on a certain debt. Creditors would also be required to limit their contact with debtors to a certain number, and during those contacts they would have to provide consumers with more and better information regarding the debt and repayment process. Consumers would also have a clearer path to file and pursue debt disputes.

Debt collection is a process well-known for using emotional manipulation to force consumers to fork out cash for debts that might not even be theirs. The CFPB's proposed rules could provide significant relief to those who are attempting to get their finances under control. While filing for bankruptcy is usually the most effective way to stop creditor harassment, providing relief from harassing phone calls beforehand can help Washington consumers begin the process confidently.

Source: mic.com, "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wants Debt Collectors to Stop Harassing You", James Dennin, July 28, 2016

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